The UK food supplements market is flourishing, as sales reached £431 million in 2016, with a predicted total of £457 million by 2021. Almost half of Britain’s population consume vitamins and minerals on a daily basis but health experts have warned purchasers to be cautious, especially when ordering products from overseas. A recent investigation launched by Trading Standards has found that one company were selling tablets which were up to 99 percent deficient in terms of the active ingredients that they were supposed to comprise of.
UK shoppers could buy 120 of the supplements online for as much as £11. They appealed to consumers because they were said to combat colds and arthritis. A UK charity claims that fraudsters tend to scam the elderly out of millions of pounds by selling them ‘useless’ health supplements. After admitting that the pills were fraudulent, the owner of the business has received a ten month suspended prison sentence and their company was fined £24,000 at Oxford Crown Court. The website which the pills were being sold on now appears to have ceased trading. The Food Standards Agency, who regulate the industry, advise customers to carefully check products as consumers ought to purchase goods from trustworthy sources.
The investigation took place following a complaint by a local resident. The Oxfordshire Council Trading Standards department have commented that:
“Vulnerable consumers should be able to trust the accuracy of food supplement descriptions. Our role is not only to protect purchasers but also to support the vast majority of honest businesses by tackling rogue companies.”
Not only are consumers left with a defective and ill-conceived product, but authentic companies also suffer and their reputations can become tarnished as a result of what appears to be similar, yet fraudulent, competitors. If your company and the goods that you sell are brought into question and become the subject of a Trading Standards investigation, our specialist regulatory solicitors at Stephensons are able to assist you. Our solicitors have extensive experience in advising and defending businesses who are being investigated by Trading Standards, as well as providing representation at an interview under caution and at court. For more information, please call our regulatory solicitors now on 01616 966 229.